The mantri dilemmaVisit Nepal 2020 is coming, but will the tourists? Maybe not.
With the way things are going, Visit Nepal 2020 might not be a success because we still don’t have adequate infrastructure to handle 2 million tourists, because we seem to be a large step behind when it comes to our airports, hotels and management of tourist sites. Of course, 2 million folks are not going to show up on the same day, but the single international airport’s mismanagement—by our civil servants and pickpocket baggage handlers—makes it worse for all of us. For most of the bideshi tourists, TIA is the gateway to Nepal, and the first impression is not the best we have to offer. Our immigration department officials and their habit of picking their nose with one finger, and using Facebook on their mobile with the other, do not leave a good impression on our tourists.
And when it comes to airport taxis, our taxi wallahs must have learned their tips and tricks from somewhere else. We Nepalis are supposed to be peaceful, hardworking and law-abiding citizens, but our taxi wallahs are lazy bums who will break the law and physically assault you to take their cabs if they get the chance.
Our national carrier is an embarrassment. Why not increase flights to China or Singapore or even India, instead of carrying out flights to Osaka for a loss? Nepal Airlines wants to sell its 757 but so far nobody really wants to pay the more than $7 million for it. Why not just transport the plane in pieces to Bhrikuti Mandap and then assemble it again, and then ask the manpower companies to at least pay something so that most of our migrant workers will understand air travel before they leave for their destinations. We can also take our kids for fun, the air hostess can hand out candies for a fee as well.
Our Tourism Minister is a wonderful man. He is young and could one day become our Prime Minister, if the Nepal Communist Party gets to run the show for a decade or two. He wears a tie and suit and wears them well. We see a little bit of Justin Trudeau in Yogesh Dai when it comes to the nose and facial structure. But it’s a different ball game when one is just another politician and one who gets to become our mantri.
When one is a politician, you can rant against the whole world, be it your own political party that runs the show or the rest of the fools out there but once you become a mantri, it’s a whole different ball game. Now, you cannot rant against anybody because you have a ministry to run and then you have to satisfy your cousins and cadres and the mother party as well.
And there are the civil servants who actually run the show. What’s wrong with Nepal? Let us not blame our politicians because most of them really wanted to change the system and fought against the pancheys, monarchy and the ‘corrupt’ system, but once they got to sit in the Kurchi, they themselves became part of the system.
Look at Oli Ba and Prachanda. Oli spent more than 14 years in prison and was a skinny, starving fellow when he first got a taste of power as Home Minister more than 25 years ago. And things have changed quite a bit since then. Prachanda too wanted to change the system and look where he is today.
It seems if we were to only add up our politicians’ and civil servants’ wealth, then Nepal would be the richest nation on Earth. How can a civil servant in their 30 years of service accumulate enough wealth to own a mansion in Kathmandu, while his or her kids go to universities in foreign lands and settle down there. Our netas have it easier because they don’t need to wait 30 years to be in a position of power to make money. Yes, a mantri can make a minimum of 100 Karods if he or she gets to stay in the kurchi of a ministry for a year. We all know that most of our mantris get a cut from transferring and promoting civil servants. Everything has a price in this country. If you want to be the chief of a government agency, then please prepare to pay at least 7 to 10 Karods. We really don’t know where the money comes from but it surely goes to top civil servants and mantris.
Yogesh Dai is different. That’s what many of us say and think so as well. But somebody must be giving him the wrong advice. Nijgadh Airport will take a decade or more and there is no point in trying to tell the world that it will be built at any cost no matter what the tree lovers say. I think Yogesh Dai should take a step back and understand we do not need such a big airport. It would be better if we focused on Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Kathmandu instead. Who is going to fly into Nijgadh and then take an hour or two hour ride to Kathmandu when the highways are all done? Save the trees, earn brownie points from not only us tree lovers, but from the rest of the world. Then we will do everything to nominate you for the Nobel Prize or any other prize out there. That would be much better than receiving a gold medal from a Korean cult.
And when it comes to Visit Nepal 2020, I think it’s time to fire Suraj Vaidya and maybe ask one of our tourism entrepreneurs to head the committee instead. After all, we all know where the IIFA awards idea came from. Visit Nepal 2020 does not even have an official website yet. Some travel agency owns the domain name instead. Nothing personal against Suraj Dai but we have barely four months to go and our concerned government agencies are not ready for anything. Nepal Tourism Board has more than 150 Karod budget and Visit Nepal 2020 has another hundred and more. Maybe, we should just invite Rajnikanth, the emperor of Tamil Cinema; Sachin Tendulkar, the god of cricket; Emilia Clarke, the mother of dragons; and Messi, the god of football, in January 2020 to launch the Visit Nepal campaign.
Rajnikanth can help us to at least get a million tourists from South India. They are better educated, have more money to spend and will eat more rice and chicken and non-veg items than the average Indian tourist, who mostly come on chartered buses and bring their own cooking gas and utensils. Tendulkar can play in a charity cricket game with our Nepali cricketers and we could make millions from Indian companies and telecast live to Indian channels to make millions more. We can invite hundreds of thousands of Sachin fans to watch the game as well. If we can do the same with Messi and for mother of dragons, you don’t even need foreign tourists. We can get a million Nepali fans and another million bideshi fans to dress up as dragons to welcome Emilia Clarke to Nepal.